Showing posts with label SimParCar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SimParCar. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

frugal living

Welcome to the February 2013 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Finances
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we balance finances, family, and simplicity. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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When we bought our first Mac laptop seven years ago, it helped us in many areas of our lives. Perhaps the biggest way was that we started using Quicken. I smile when I ponder the pre-Quicken days of writing down every expense on a paper tablet, but that is one instance when I can say for sure I don't long for the Good Ol' Days.

Although Quicken did help us establish our first budget, it wasn't until we took on a frugal living challenge last year that we really began to analyze closely our needs versus our wants and attempt to make cuts to family spending. The frugal living challenge was a 23-day experiment in which we redefined "enough" and discussed the merit of each individual purchase we make on a regular basis.

We altered our lifestyles greatly after the challenge to be more frugal. For instance, we got rid of cable (for a year; we're back on cable now in our new house). One area that took lots of time and soul-searching to change was grocery-shopping. I realized in doing the challenge that so much of my coupon-clipping was to purchase items we didn't really need (e.g. toilet bowl cleaner can be made at home for pennies on the dollar!). Upon that realization, I decided once and for all to cut out coupons from our lives; I shared the results and my tips for shopping frugally without coupons on the blog.

 I have written several posts about living frugally, so if you're pondering how you can live more simply and within your means, come pull up a chair and learn from my foibles and follies on our path to frugal living:




How do you live frugally? What does frugal living mean to you?

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Thanks for reading the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival! We hope you’ll take time to read these other great contributors’ posts (Note: Links will all be live by 3pm ET on February 26th): SimParCarButton150x150
  • Keeping Finances Simple - Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares how using the Neat scanner, price books and setting a budget helps her family keep their finances simple.
  • Living Within Our Means - Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM discusses how her family attempts to simplify their financial life by not spending money they don't have.
  • A Confession: I'm a Cheapskate - Jade at Faith in the Shade confesses her frugal nature and shares the stresses of simplifying her budget in all areas of the home.. even the most hated- groceries.
  • frugal living - Justine at The Lone Home Ranger recaps how participating in a frugal living challenge last year changed the way she approached family spending.
Thanks to all the fabulous writers and readers for being a part of our simplicity parenting community! Stop by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM to see how to join us for a future carnival.


Editor's note: This post was shared with The Homestead Barn Hop.

Monday, February 04, 2013

call for February carnival submissions: {finances}


Thanks to everyone who participated in the November Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. If you’re joining us for the first time, feel free to check out the May, June, August , October, and November 2012 carnivals as well! Read more about our carnival and future topics here.

February 2013: Finances
How do you handle finances while living simply? Are your finances complex despite your simple living priorities? Do you wish your finances were simpler?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

starting holiday food traditions

Welcome to the November 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Food
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we balance food, family, and simplicity. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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It makes some sort of sense that after disappearing for a week I would come back to the blog talking about food. Practically nothing else (save decorating) has occupied my thoughts for the past fortnight. Just about my favorite part of this Thanksgiving--after my mom visiting, of course--is that the whole event somehow came together easily.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

call for November carnival submissions: {food}

Chocolate cookies with toppings (recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

Thanks to everyone who participated in the October Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. If you’re joining us for the first time, feel free to check out the May, June, and August carnivals as well! Read more about our carnival and future topics here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY holiday fun

Welcome to the October 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Holidays
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we simplify the holiday season. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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In the past I wouldn't have considered myself the crafting kind. That's an understatement, really. I tried one Martha Stewart craft project in college--creating my own criss-cross ribbon photo board--which was an abysmal failure. Lately, though, I've been enjoying taking up more craft projects with my girls. Perhaps it's the fact that they are so small that makes me adventurous. After all, who cares if a child's art project isn't perfect?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

call for October carnival submissions: {holidays}

SimParCar Button 2


Thanks to everyone who participated in the August Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. If you’re joining us for the first time, feel free to check out the May and June carnivals as well! Please note that even though we’ve decided to host the carnival every other month, we’ll be posting in both October and November so we can take December off. We’ll be back on a regular schedule in January. See here for more details.  

October 2012: Holidays
The holiday season is wonderful but can be overwhelming in many respects. The pressure to consume, consume, consume can be intense regardless of what holidays you celebrate.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

mise en place: simple productivity ideas

Welcome to the August 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Productivity
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we balance simplicity and productivity, i.e. remain productive while also maintaining a slower pace of life. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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Image Credit: Ranger Mike Designs


I can't remember when I first heard of the term "mise en place;" maybe it was Julia Child, or perhaps it was Top Chef. What I can recall is that my brain automatically flagged it as a great concept not just for cooking but for many parts of my life. French for "putting in place," it's the gathering of ingredients prior to starting to cook. Preparing ingredients and equipment ahead of time is a brilliant time-saver in the kitchen. Plus it makes you feel like a celebrity chef and culinary genius, even if what you happen to be making is a simple as pesto. So could it be a metaphor for life? Could life itself be a dish that is best created when elements are designed, pondered, and crafted ahead?



Extending the notion of pre-assembling to the rest of my world took no less than a paradigm shift, the basic assumption moving from "I don't have time to plan anything ahead; I must wait until I have some time and decide what to do then" to "I don't need to do an entire project at once. I can start it and come back later." Giving myself permission to stop mid-project and switch to another task has been the kick in the pants my organized self wanted.

When I talk of preparing ahead, I'm not necessarily referring to the organizing of stuff. I probably brag too much, in fact, about my knack for organization. It's more like a thoughtfulness for the tasks ahead and a orchestration of the tasks into an efficient and productive order. I've never been great at time management, but I've been pondering some changes I could make ever since Barb's guest post on work flow a while back.

Modern technology aids me in my task of planning ahead. For example, I use Todoist to begin my day-mapping; it lets me easily add items to lists, color-code them, and switch tasks to other projects. I put the washing machine on automatic time-delay to run in the early morning hours. That way, I take the fresh laundry out of the wash when I wake in the morning rather than letting it sit there for hours and risk molding. Similarly, I set the dishwasher ahead to run after we have showered in the evening so it doesn't use up our hot water.

I set out the non-refrigerated breakfast items ahead in the evening, like bowls/spoons and cereal or oatmeal, and then get up a few minutes before the kids and pull the laundry out of the wash, start breakfast, and get the mid-morning snacks set up. While my kids have nap time and "room time" (when Vivi plays quietly for an hour), I get their afternoon activities set up; if we're going to the local beach, I prepare the bags and set up a crock-pot meal, and if we're staying home, I get paint or other art projects ready.

I apply mise en place for my meal components as well, and I plan out what I'll be preparing on any given day, from cooking meatballs to incubating yogurt to chopping carrot sticks or grating squash to freeze for future recipes. In the evening, when I'm not doing yoga or knitting while I watch TV, I use my down-time to apply mise en place to the blog, organizing and planning topics on certain dates.

My last change sounds like an easy one, but for some reason it wasn't for me: I always always wash dishes as I use them. This is a rule my dad has been following for as long as I can remember, but I just couldn't make myself do it until I forced myself to consider it a RULE. I now absolutely do not leave the kitchen until they are done. For moments that the kids need my attention while I'm cleaning, I keep special toys in a cupboard that they don't see often; you'd be surprised how long they will play with a few plastic army men and matchbox cars if you keep them hidden most of the time. Speaking of dishes, when I'm waiting on the faucet water to get hot, I fill up my watering can. It saves both water and time later when I'm ready to water my herbs.

Most of all, remember: if it's not fun, it's not sustainable. Make yourself view these preparations as a positive part of your day; do whatever it takes to make your brain see it this way. Reward yourself for a productive job well done! Play happy music and postpone the chocolate and "Facebooking" until you've completed your prep work.

Do you have secrets to making your day more productive? I'd love to hear them.


All the links on the list below will be live and updated by 3pm E.T. today! 

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Thanks for reading the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival! We hope you’ll take time to read these other great contributors’ posts: SimParCarButton150x150
Thanks to all the fabulous writers and readers for being a part of our simplicity parenting community! Stop by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM to see how to join us for a future carnival.

Editor's note: This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways and Your Green Resource.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

call for August carnival submissions: {productivity}

SimParCar Button 2

If you feel like you're having deja vu, it's because you really have seen this post before back in July. Feeling challenged in the area of productivity, Emily and I decided to postpone this carnival a month so we could devote more thought and time to the task. We hope you will join us in our challenge to become more productive and write about your experience for our next carnival!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

on {lack of} productivity

So, about that Simplicity Parenting carnival....

Emily and I made a collectively timely decision for both our families to move our productivity theme to next month. Yup, we see the irony in postponing the productivity carnival too. Ha! Oh well, that's summer life, no? As a true Shakespeare fan, I will not admit impediments, but suffice it to say, being productive enough to write about productivity is setting the bar a bit high this month. You can see the new carnival schedule here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

call for July carnival submissions: productivity


SimParCar Button 2


Thanks to everyone who participated in the June Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. We are happy to announce the third month of our carnival:

July 2012: Productivity
Living simply might seem simple at first but it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the countless things you can do to simplify your life. How do you balance simplicity and productivity? How do you remain productive and maintain a slower pace of life? How do your children help and hinder your productivity?

We’d love to know how you balance (or attempt to balance) simple living, productivity, and parenting. Share your experiences with us this month!

Submission Details
If you've never read nor participated in a blog carnival before, a blog carnival is a chance for different bloggers to share posts regarding a specific theme or topic. The July submission deadline is 11:59pm EDT Tuesday, July 17th and the carnival will be posted Tuesday, July 24th.

Please write a new post for the carnival and do not post it until the day of the carnival. Email your blog post to Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com and fill out other necessary details using the embedded Google document submission form below by 11:59pm EDT Tuesday, July 17th. We will email you with further instructions prior to the carnival day. (Note: If you need help learning how to determine a blog URL in advance, Lauren Wayne @ Hobo Mama provides a great explanation. She also has many other blogging tutorials available here.)

Finally, keep it clean, stick to the topic, check your grammar and spelling, and don't use this carnival as a platform to put others down. We want this carnival to be useful, supportive, and fun! If you have any content-related questions, feel free to email Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com. Technical questions go to Justine at lonehomeranger {at} gmail {dot} com. We reserve the right not to accept posts we find inappropriate for this carnival.




Thanks for your recording your submission! Don't forget to email your blog post submission to Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com. Also feel free to share this carnival with others! We're using the Twitter hashtag #SimParCar. We are also collecting great simplicity parenting related ideas on this Pinterest board.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

back to basics

Welcome to the June 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Green Living
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we find ways to be more natural parents and stewards of the environment. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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A few months ago I wrote about my switch to the "no poo" method of washing my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. In case you didn't read it or my updates, I still love it and have never looked back. My hair is shiny, less greasy, and never has tangles. I also wash the girls' hair in baking soda, and when combined with Vivi's pixie hair cut, I basically never need to brush her hair. It's like magic!

Using more natural personal care products has motivated me to find other green and natural uses for these magical kitchen items that previously took a back seat on the shelf. Prior to having kids, my method of being "green" was to buy Seventh Generation and leave it at that. But once I started delving deeper into the types of products I use, I realized you can go so much further toward sustainable, earth-friendly methods of cleaning without even needing to purchase new items. A little know-how goes a long way.

Just in time for my desire to learn, I stayed with my grandmother for a week, and she gave me some great tips. My great grandmother used to work at a professional laundry service, and as a result, she passed along some wonderful cleaning advice. For instance, did you know the "treat animal with animal" stain trick? If you soak blood stains overnight in milk, they come right out!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

simplicity parenting carnival: call for June "green" submissions!

SimParCar Button 2


We were so inspired by and learned so much from the participants of our first carnival! We hope you’ll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival.  

June 2012: Green Living
Do you strive to be eco-conscious? Do you want to raise your children to value the planet? Does being Green make it easier to live simply or does it add additional challenges?


We want to hear about how you incorporate Green living into your everyday life. What steps have you taken to reduce your footprint? How do you set your Green priorities? Do you find yourself making compromises? Do you use cloth diapers and still drive an SUV? Regardless of where you are in your journey to be Green, we’d love to hear your perspective on Green family life, raising children to be eco-conscious, and how it impacts simple living.

Submission Details
If you’ve never read nor participated in a blog carnival before, a blog carnival is a chance for different bloggers to share posts regarding a specific theme or topic. The June submission deadline is 11:59pm EDT Tuesday, June 19th and the carnival will be posted Tuesday, June 26th.

Please write a new post for the carnival, and do not post it until the day of the carnival. Email your blog post to Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com and fill out other necessary details using the embedded Google document submission form below by 11:59pm EDT Tuesday, June 19th. We will email you with further instructions prior to the carnival day. (Note: If you need help learning how to determine a blog URL in advance, Lauren Wayne @ Hobo Mama provides a great explanation. She also has many other blogging tutorials available here.)


Finally, keep it clean, stick to the topic, check your grammar and spelling, and don’t use this carnival as a platform to put others down. We want this carnival to be useful, supportive, and fun! If you have any content-related questions, feel free to email Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com. Technical questions go to Justine at lonehomeranger {at} gmail {dot} com. We reserve the right not to accept posts we find inappropriate for this carnival.


If you want a blog carnival button, feel free to grab one on my carnival page. Happy writing!
Thanks for recording your submission! Don't forget to email your blog post submission to Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com. Also feel free to share this carnival with others! We're using the Twitter hashtag #SimParCar. We are also collecting great simplicity parenting related ideas on this Pinterest board.

Editor's note: This post is part of The Homestead Barn HopTeach Me Tuesday, Your Green ResourceSimple Lives Thursday, and DIY Friday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Martha and me

Welcome to the May 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Organizing
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we organize our lives. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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Mountains of laundry. Check.

Monday, May 14, 2012

call for submissions: simplicity parenting blog carnival, May 2012

Do you strive to live a simple life? A life where you focus the essentials and cut out the excess? Have your children motivated you to simplify everything or left you feeling like life is more complex than ever? Either way, the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival is for you!

Please join Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM on the fourth Tuesday of each month for a blog carnival all about simplicity parenting. Whether you already consider yourself a simplicity expert or you’ve just started taking small steps to slow down, we want to hear your about your experiences, challenges and successes. We’ll focus on a different topic each month in order to share information, learn from one another, and celebrate simple family living (or living simply or simply living)!

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